A PAPUA New Guinea court has thrown out a bid by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to strike out a warrant for his arrest on alleged official corruption.
The PNG prime minister is wanted for questioning over tens-of-millions of dollars in allegedly corrupt payments related to what is known as the Paraka affair.
The National Court ruled O’Neill’s application was an abuse of process and his lawyers are now reportedly seeking leave to appeal in the country’s Supreme Court.
Justice Collin Makail wrote in his judgement delivered Tuesday: “The Prime Minister is suspected of official corruption, an offence contrary to Section 87 of the Criminal Code. For this offence, a person shall not be arrested without a warrant of arrest.
“It was for this reason that on 12th June 2014 a warrant of arrest was issued by the First Defendant (Chief Magistrate Nerrie Eliakim) on the application of Chief Inspector Timothy Gitua of National Fraud Squad.
“The warrant of arrest was directed to amongst others, Chief Inspector Gitua to arrest the Prime Minister “as being an (sic) holder of a Public Office, charged with the performance of his duty (sic) virtue of his office, did corruptly direct to obtain a monetary benefit for Paul Paraka Lawyers in the discharge of his duties of his office as the Prime Minister.”
In conclusion, the Justice Makail wrote: “It is the conclusion of this Court that the subject decision is not reviewable. The proceeding is an abuse of process and must be dismissed.”
Lawyers for O’Neill are reportedly seeking a stay on the warrant in the Supreme Court.